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|Updated: 29-May-2002||Week of 27 May - 2 June 2002|
Exactly five years ago, on 27 May 1997, Russia's President, Boris Yelstin, the then NATO Secretary General, Javier Solana, and NATO Heads of State and Government signed the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation. The Founding Act acknowledged that NATO and Russia were no longer adversaries and marked the beginning of a new era in relations.
This fifth anniversary will also become a turning point in the history of NATO-Russia relations with the holding of a NATO-Russia Summit in Rome on 28 May. The Summit will lay the ground for a new relationship between NATO member countries and Russia by establishing a new forum for discussion and decision making: the NATO-Russia Council.
As well as establishing this forum on the occasion of the fifth anniversary, a NATO Military Liaison Mission in Moscow was inaugurated on 27 May by Admiral Guido Venturoni, the Chairman of the Military Committee, NATO's highest military authority. The ceremony was also attended by the First Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff, Colonel-General Yuri Baluyevsky, and the Deputy Head of Mission of the Belgian Host Embassy, Minister-Counsellor Filip Cumps. The office will support the implementation of military cooperation and serve as the principal liaison between NATO HQ and the Russian Ministry of Defence. It will be headed by Major General Peter Williams, UK Army, who will be assisted by a deputy, Colonel Josef Urbanowicz, Polish Army. This is the second NATO office in Moscow, the first having been NATO's Information Office, opened in February 2001.